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Greetings from the Big Apple! December 2, 2008

Posted by claireblang in 2008 Season, Drivers, My Show, NASCAR, Teams.
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Hey all! Greetings from the Big Apple!

I’m blogging you from the Sports Business Journal Motorsports Marketing Forum at the Westin Hotel at Times Square.

Tonight I will be broadcasting (Sirius NASCAR Radio and BEST OF Sirius on XM) Channel 128 LIVE from the Sirius studios in Manhattan – from 8-11 EST. I’ll have a recap of the day here in New York City and I hope you can hang out.

Last night on “Dialed In” (Sirius NASCAR Radio) I told you all that the media have been asked to rank the competition stories from 2008. Several of you called in and asked if I could put the list on the blog so that you could help rank them in order of importance in your mind. Here’s the list (below).

Listed in no particular order are the nominees for the top stories of the 2008 NASCAR season. The media members have been asked to rank all 17 moments in order. What do you think?

• Jimmie Johnson wins his third consecutive NASCAR Sprint Cup Series championship, becoming only the second driver in history to accomplish the feat. Johnson’s championship performance is highlighted by his strong showing in the Chase, as he posts three wins, eight top 10s, six top fives and an Average Finish of 5.7.

• The new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car concludes it transition year and is raced the entire season.

• Kyle Busch excels in all three national series, winning a combined 21 races in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series.

• Tony Stewart announces he’s leaving Joe Gibbs Racing to become owner/driver of Stewart-Haas Racing in 2009. Stewart won two NASCAR Sprint Cup championships during his 10-year tenure with JGR.

• Carl Edwards wins a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series-high nine races and finishes runner-up in both the NASCAR Sprint Cup and NASCAR Nationwide Series.

• Johnny Benson edges Ron Hornaday Jr. to win the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship in the second closest points battle in that series’ history. Benson joins Greg Biffle as the only other driver to win both the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series titles during their careers.

• In his first season driving for Hendrick Motorsports, Dale Earnhardt Jr. breaks a 76- race winless streak by winning at Michigan International Speedway on Father’s Day. Earnhardt Jr. finishes 12th in points with one victory, 10 top fives and 16 top 10 finishes on the season.

• Jeff Gordon’s streak of 14 consecutive seasons of winning a race is snapped as he goes winless in 2008.

• Clint Bowyer wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series championship and continues to establish himself as one of the rising stars in the sport.

• Ryan Newman wins his – and owner Roger Penske’s – first Daytona 500, with teammate Kurt Busch finishing second. It is the 50th running of the Great American Race.

• After being voted into the field by the fans, Kasey Kahne wins the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and rides that wave of momentum with a victory the following week in the Coca-Cola 600.

• Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota wins the NASCAR Nationwide Series Owners’ Championship, claiming nine victories with four different drivers during the season.

• Eighteen-year-old Joey Logano bursts upon the national series scene, competing in 19 NASCAR Nationwide Series events, winning at Kentucky Speedway and posting 14 top 10 and five top five finishes.

• Greg Biffle wins the first two races in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and re-establishes himself as a championship contender after a two-year absence from the Chase.

• Canadian Ron Fellows not only wins in his home country but does so in the rain at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in August. The event is NASCAR’s first-ever national series points race contested on rain tires.

• The announcement is made that Camping World will become the official sponsor of NASCAR’s Camping World Truck Series beginning in 2009. Craftsman had been the official sponsor since the series’ inception in 1995.

• NFL standout Randy Moss enters the NASCAR Truck Series as owner of the No. 84 Randy Moss Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado.

I’d better get back to the seminar.

Enjoy the day!

Catch you at 8:00 EST tonight on “Dialed In”

Claire B.

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POSTCard from Dover May 31, 2008

Posted by claireblang in Drivers, Fun Stuff, In The Garage.
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Dover International Raceway
POST-Card -Saturday – May 31, 2008
dover monster

Scott Speed Rocks the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Garage!!
Welcome to Saturday afternoon at Dover! It’s so funny – I interviewed Scott Speed yesterday on my XM “Dialed In” show and he told me about his blue- tipped pedicure. I asked him to take his socks and shoes off and show me right then and there. He had the French pedicure with blue tips on the top of each of his toe nails. Wild! I laughed so hard I almost fell off the chair. Here’s a transcript:
ScottSpeed
CBL: You’re way different than anyone else in the garage!
SPEED: Yea – I mean I don’t know many guys who got a pedicure before they came here!
CBL: What? You take your shoes off and show me! He’s got striped socks. (laughter)
SPEED: (Showing CBL his toes) How awesome are those?
CBL: Why did you get the blue tips on them? (laughter)
SPEED: Ahh- just because I guess. They look cool I mean – You gotta take yourself lightly (laughing)
CBL: I can guarantee you that if you do kick some butt (today) they’ll be left with a little blue nail polish on.
SPEED: It just makes it worse for them. If they’ve got a guy beating them with blue nail polish tips on his feet – it makes it harder to deal with on Monday.
CBL: Can I just say thanks for showing me those.
SPEED: Hey no problem

The funny thing is that Speed went on to win the darn race. I got so many OMG emails on that one –fans enjoyed it. Here’s the part that cracks me up: In the garage after the Speed interview and before the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race I talked with a few other NCTS drivers. They joked that if Speed won- they’d have to paint their toe nails for the same kind of luck. They were kidding, of course, because they never thought Speed would win the race here in Dover. LOL on that one.

Mike Skinner:
SKINNER: I gotta find out who is giving Scott Speed all these pedicures and manicures and stuff. Obviously it’s working, he keeps moving up the charts every week you know Doug and those guys are giving them awfully fast stuff – I am starting to get a little jealous.
CBL: Maybe you should try it. Have you ever?
SKINNER: I am going to. We’re talking about – we’re going to show up somewhere – we haven’t figured it out yet. I’m going to wear those glasses and some of that outfit and get my toe nails done and stuff. He’s going to wear Justin boots and a cowboy hat and we’re going to confuse the whole NASCAR world!

Johnny Benson:
BENSON: Well -I mean his trucks blue so that would have been the color I would have went with. Maybe with my truck I should go with Red. Scott is just sooo funny. What you see with him here maybe doing interviews and out this and that is totally different than him in the truck and it’s totally hilarious…..I have enjoyed hanging out with him – but I did NOT get a pedicure with him….Apparently I have to get on the band wagon here or something.
CBL: Well if he wins or something you’ll run right and get one right?
BENSON: Well yea – there’s some weird stuff that happens if you win so if he goes out and wins there will be a lot of guys going out and doing it (a pedicure) I’m sure. (laughter).

Speed won. He gave short one-word answers after the win on the broadcast. He was more talkative in the media center after the race.

“Well, to be honest, whether we win or not, it doesn’t really affect my confidence. I don’t let results control how I feel about myself. I said a thousand times, I mean, today we had a good strategy and we had an awesome truck. We got everything we could out of it. But if our truck was a fifth-place truck and we did the race and finished fifth I’d be just as happy with myself. Hats off to the team. They are really the ones that won this race. I’m pretty confident that anyone in this truck the last 50 laps of this race after the pit stop would have done the exact same thing. So, for me, I’m learning step by step. It’s going to be a long process. I mean just to have the experience to know what to do on the trucks or on the cars when I go to the COT. You can’t just learn it right away. It’s something you have to feel and you have to learn and the learning curve that I’ve had is amazing. I’ve learned a ton every time I go out on the track for a race I definitely come away with a lot of feeling, a lot of experience and knowledge. I’m certainly looking forward to continuing on and looking forward to my first Cup race but I’m not in any rush. I’m having the time of my life just coming over here and trying to learn this sport. And it’s awesome. Red Bull has given me an incredible opportunity to do this and my hat’s off to them. Without them none of this would have been possible.” HORNADAY SAID HE HAD AN ENGINE PROBLEM AT THE END OF THE RACE. DID YOU HAVE ANYTHING FOR HIM IF HE DIDN’T HAVE THAT PROBLEM? WERE YOU WORRIED ON THE RESTARTS? “It’s hard to say. He took four tires at the beginning so we expected him to be quite a bit stronger than he was. It really didn’t take much to pull away from the field so it wouldn’t surprise me if someone did have a problem. That’s how it plays out and that’s why I said it’s not this win that has made me feel great about myself because it just happens. It’s circumstance. Today it was our day.”

Several competitors told me that while Speed is low-key and almost calm and non-competitive out of the truck with comments about savoring meals and living the European life style – he’s just as competitive – with just as much racing edge as the rest of the drivers once he straps the helmet on.

Speed is definitely fun to hang out with. I never laughed so hard-during the interview I had with him. He’s a little off the beaten path – ok at times way off the path from the norm in the truck garage. That mix of drivers on the track makes things even more interesting.

Just don’t be surprised if a few NASCAR Crafstman Truck Series drivers have pedicures hidden under their fireproof racing shoes in the coming weeks.

They’ll do anything for luck.

It’s raining here…practice delayed. Now Nationwide back on the track.

More later –
Enjoy the day!

Claire B
XM Satellite Radio